GOP’s Virginia Loss Tells Us Little About the State of American Politics: New at Reason

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ed Gillespie (0-1)Before it's all over, President Donald Trump may well obliterate the Republican Party's prospects for the coming decade or longer. But despite much wishful thinking among liberals, the big GOP losses in Virginia do not prove this contention. There's really nothing unprecedented about cyclical pushbacks in politics. And if every election were really imbued with the kind of game-changing importance that political pundits claim, it would mean Americans were going through massive ideological fluctuations every year, which seems unlikely.

A theory: Even if Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie had mimicked Trump's populism to complete perfection, he still would have lost. As it is, he outran Trump by about 1 percent. The idea that Trumpism—however people define it—is especially popular in general, or popular in a state with many Democrats, is merely theoretical considering no one other than Hillary Clinton has been beaten by it in an open election.

There are two types who want us to think there was a sea change among the GOP over the past year: liberals who want to paint all Republicans as a bunch of white supremacists and Trump populists; and those who are trying to convince everyone that post-World War II conservatism is dead. Neither of these things are true, writes David Harsanyi.

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